Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ladies Day Review

Ladies Day
Westovian Theatre
27 Sept 2010

North Shields on a wet and windy day, working in a fish processing plant… I can think of better places to be, unsurprisingly so can the ‘down in the dumps’ staff.

It doesn’t though stop the jovial craic between the four ‘gutters’ and the charge hand-all wanting to better themselves to get rid of that ‘fishy’ feeling.

When Pearl decides that she has had enough and wishes to ‘retire’ the other lasses Shelley, Jan and Linda all come up with various plans to send her off. Pearl would like nothing better than to head off to Royal Ascot (this year at York) to participate in Champers, the poshness and a bit of TIC-TAC.

It is decided but very late in the day, the party have no choice but to seek out a black market ticket tout. The prices are astronomical. The girls are resigned that their journey is a waste of a time, and think that a pub lunch would be a very unsuitable substitute.

A massive spot of good luck changes play, one of the girls finds a purse in the toilets and inside of it are four entry tickets and enough money to pay for that Champagne and their bets. Should they hand it in, should they take somebody else’s misfortune and turn it into a positive for themselves.

What follows is a hilarious tale of hidden secrets, domestic disharmony, a huge yearning to be elevated in life and the normal ‘goings-on’ of four girls on the lash.

Ladies Day, written by Amanda Whittington is superbly directed by Beryl Henderson. She didn’t cast this time but she has done a great job with the actors.

Kylie Ford as the brash and sometimes crude dreamer ‘Shelley’ (not a million miles away from the characters she directed in the Youth production of "Totally Over You" a month or so ago) is superbly cast, she bosses her potential on stage magnificently.

Emma Nagouse plays concerned mother ‘Jan’ with real flair, she also carries off being drunk perfectly.

Meek and mild ‘Linda’ acted by Amy Jeffels is the ‘the baby of the show’with a few problems at home- performs her character with huge emotion.

Mark Lamb the only male plays six parts in this play, all with differing accents and all with high standards. His portrayal of the creepy TV commentator was my highlight.

Star of the show in my humble opinion-Val Dawson who plays ‘Pearl’- is just fantastic in her role. I would love to see and review her in some gritty parts.

Beryl not only directed the play but she was principal in set design, which was very professionally constructed.

Lighting set up was a little haphazard on the night, but the often-mumbled Geordie twang was loud and clear due to great sound.

Ladies Day is a wonderfully funny feel good play with great performances that lets you drift into the characters with ease. I would recommend this wholeheartedly to take away the gloom of the dark nights that are fast approaching.

Ladies Day is on between 27th Sept to 2nd Oct.

Michael Hunter

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